Iīve just bought myself a notebook and since I had serious problems with my previous hard drive now I want to backup some things in order to be better prepared for possible "surprises". So besides hard drive images and stuff I think backing up MBR/partition table and boot sector is a good idea, too. Iīve read a lot of articles on the net lately but I need some advice on software for this purpose from experienced users before doing anything (stupid). Could some of the Hirenīs software do the trick? I find it good cause itīs bootable and I donīt have to think of other ways to boot since I donīt have any external usb stuff.
Symantec Ghost has an option to backup the entire drive. That includes all partitions plus the MBR. When necessary, you can restore everything in one shot, basically restoring your drive to the state it was in when you got the notebook new.
The other way is to use any linux liveCD to run the dd command. The MBR is simply the first 512 bytes of the drive, and the boot sector(s) is the first 512 bytes of each partition.
I haven't used any of Hiren's tools, but I know it is fairly simple to backup and restore the MBR and partition table using Knoppix (knoppix.org) or probably any Linux live CD. There are some some freely available Linux live CD distributions that you can d/l and burn to CD that are tailored for utility use. The Linux dd program can backup and restore the MBR and partition table with a single command line very easily. As for the bootsectors for your various partitions, I imagine dd can do that just as easily too if you know where on your disk those things are stored. However it shouldn't be too difficult to figure it out to use the included tools through the documentation.